For instance, my second oldest daughter likes to bring up the moment when her fingers got slammed in the car door by my oldest daughter while we were at Disney World -- an event that took place seven years ago. Another memory to come up on a regular basis is a retelling of a time someone threw up in a place not normally used to contain this type of sick. The most repeated recollection is when one of my kids tried to launch a Buzz Lightyear doll on a firecracker until a Woody toy came alive and spoke to them. Well, at least I think that's one of theirs.
We writers tend to do the same thing my children do when it comes to past difficulties, and not just for a memoir or autobiography. In many situations, writers decide to give up on their dreams because of events that took place in the past. For example, a series of rejections, harsh critiques of their work, or a seemingly endless period of writer's block. When asked why they slowed down or gave up writing, these folks bring up the past discretions as valid reasons. Of course, these excuses smell worse than a windowless room full of people who just consumed five-bean chili on a hot day.
Writers need to get past their previous problems and focus on what's going on in their present and the future. Just because their works were rejected before doesn't mean the process will continue, especially after editing and rewriting. Same thing for writer's block, which can clear up with a mere whisper of a suggestion of an idea from something noticed on the sidewalk. In other words, though it's somewhat cliché, a new year means a clean slate.
And the best way to clear this slate is to take problem projects from the year before and file them away in a computer folder or file cabinet. They can be pulled out once the writing mojo returns in force. And as soon as that takes place, writers can look forward to their next project, book signing, or appearance on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show rather than utilizing their mental time machine to relive the past.
Do you look to the problems of the past or the brightness of the future?